Ok, so I wasn’t really planning to add a conclusion to the review about the finale, but you commenters have convinced me that it would be useful and, hopefully, a bit enlightening too… So, here you go, I just hope it would be even a little bit interesting… 🙂
Tying up loose ends and bringing up new leads
As an intended transition between the shock full season 4 and the promising season 6, the last twenty-two episodes have dealt with some of the questions viewers were bound to wonder about after ‘The Crimson Hat’. Indeed, the previous season meant to question the premises of Jane’s stance concerning both his nemesis and the life he’s been building for ten years: he feigned to accept RJ’s offer of friendship, he renounced to his very meaningful celibacy by becoming Lorelei’s lover, he left his job as a consultant and Lisbon, before getting even closer to her… and then jeopardizing again what they had with Lorelei’s revelation about their night together. As a consequence, some of the goals of the following season featured Jane working to
– restore his credibility as an investigator on the RJ case (=the struggle with the FBI),
– reassume his status as an unquestionable enemy of RJ, thus thoroughly ending that weird game of “friendship” he initiated by letting Panzer be murdered by RJ (=turning Lorelei and convincing the others that she had kidnapped him when he got her out of jail, meaning that he still wanted to be seen as a victim),
– reaffirm to the world, to Lisbon and to himself that he’s still a grieving widower, even after sleeping with his nemesis’ mistress, with all the ambiguity inherent to this point (= affirming at first that he had no feelings for Lorelei, before admitting later that he actually liked her; hallucinating that his daughter gave him her authorization for seeing other women than her mother, even if he denied it to himself)
– extinguish the embers of disappointment, jealousy and distrust that threatened to burn his bridges with Lisbon (=fighting with her, proving to her that he’s still trustworthy by telling her the truth at long last… and apologizing to her for being secretive and controlling). And building implicitly new bridges with his partner.
At the same time, ironically his path towards redemption is also now paved by seven names of suspects… a highly symbolical number, with magic/mystic/religious connotations which is convenient for the master of a cult-like group of followers eager to kill anyone at his very order. And now, Jane has to face a list reminding somewhat of biblical analogies, like the seven heads of the beast, or the seven deadly sins…
Also, is that only an amusing coincidence, or were those suspects really meant to match those sins? Stiles reminds of the almighty pride as a cult-leader who pretend to be all-seeing and who control the life of his followers… Bertram shows gluttony, not for food but for power: he wants to win against the others players and has proven people are less import to him than his image, he’s selfish, another side of gluttony. Kirkland is greedy with information: he takes everything in, to the point of invading Jane’s privacy and spying on Lisbon, but he doesn’t share anything, even some insignificant detail about himself on a date. Raymond Haffner may illustrate the sloth: he failed with his attempt at controlling Jane and let it at that; he decided to leave the CBI to create his own business because there was no money in the California law enforcement agency, so he accepted what he could from Visualize in exchange of taking Lisbon away from Jane… he’s in dire contrast to Lisbon herself, who decided to stay where she works because she loves her job and who fights for her consultant without holding back. Reede Smith first appeared on the show getting on a fight with Cho and Rigsby who were protecting Lisbon: he’s the wrath. Sheriff Thomas McAllister was the only man among the suspect to show a personal interest in the physical appearance of one of the women of the team ( since Kirkland wasn’t interested in Lisbon): he complimented Van Pelt –a redhead in a red dress…- in a fashion creepy enough that he was mistaken for the killer… he may be the lechery. Last, not least, Brett Partridge has been offended by Jane’s theories (and insults) and has tried to prove himself more than once as a clever investigator on murder scenes before being called off by the consultant: there’s a competitive side to him that may explain his veiled hostility… a side of envy, maybe? I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but the similarities are pretty intriguing.
Beside, and this is without any doubts only an entertaining coincidence, Eileen (Lily Barlow’s real first name) was the name of the female lead of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Seven Dials’ Mystery’ –which featured a secret society with supposedly criminal activities- and she too went by a nickname (Bundle). It’s a small world, really…
A return to the roots: closure and new beginnings
But, more than just a transition between two failed new schemes to get his nemesis, the whole season revels in an evocation of various beginnings: the probable starting point of RJ’s career as a serial killer (‘The Red Barn’); the first days of Jane’s link with the CBI and the team (‘Red Dawn’); the life Jane had without the tragedy and his bond with his daughter (‘Devil’s Cherry’: « you’re safe, you’re loved, you’re wise”); Jane’s childhood memories (‘Red John’s Rules’).
Those steps back in time give new insight into the characters’ background and are meant to prepare us for the confrontation in the final, as well as they mark the beginning of a something new: hence the introduction of new characters who will change the game. Also, one of the meanings of orchids –one of the shows main themes this season-, is precisely “new beginnings”…
There is no surprise then that every character in the team got to access to closure and recently started something new.
• Rigbsy got a kind of closure with his father’s death (‘Blood Feud’): he more or less reconciled with him when talking about his son and got some perspective. Beside, the fact that he got his revenge on his killer (thanks to Jane) set him at peace with his past. On the other hand, he also managed to man up and assume his feelings for Grace and addressed the lingering anger due their complicated history together… He’s definitely grown up.
• Grace too has made quite a progress: in the previous season, she was still angry and hurt by O’Laughlin’s betrayal. Now, not only has she grieved the loss of her too perfect love, but she also managed to prove that she’s thought out many aspects of her life –all of that masterfully wrapped up in handful of episodes, due to Amanda Righetti’s pregnancy… Indeed, she’s the one leading the most interesting parts of the decisive talk she has with her former lover and she’s the one who goes to him at the end of ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’.
• Cho too gets his closure with his bittersweet meeting with his ex-girlfriend Summer, who is pregnant from another man and about to happily marry him (‘Panama Red’). He also got an opportunity to widen his professional perspectives with the Rapid Response Team lead by Tamsin Wade… the fact that it failed doesn’t really count character-wise: it shows that he acquired maturity, even though it didn’t really paid off and his rather harsh involvement to help Summer certainly burned some useful bridges.
• Lisbon: she also is granted her own situation assessment for her ten years working with the CBI (‘Red Dawn’). With the passing episodes, she seems to assume more who she is instead of the politically-correct façade she usually puts forward, which Jane alludes to by teasing her about her Catholic up-bringing. She lets down “the voice of reason” for “the voice of wrath “, she doesn’t hesitate to pull one over on a judge to get Volker, she has learnt to rely on someone (asking for Jane’s help twice)… Every one of these points goes against her control freak tendencies. On the other hand, she has also managed to express her anger towards Jane and his obsession: it doesn’t match her past affirmation that she didn’t do personal. Somehow, both aspects remind of the two things reproached to Jane himself by Barlow: being controlling (=Lisbon’s control freak tendencies) and secretive (=not doing personal, keeping her private life to herself)… and that might explain why Barlow didn’t allude to two even worse sides of those flaws in Jane, being manipulative instead of just controlling, and calling him a liar instead of the rather benign “secretive”… Beside, like Cho, her career was given a new perspective (that did go nowhere either) with Haffner’s job proposition… A potential for a new start is then indeed on the making for her too, as hinted by her new success with men.
1/ On a personal level, his story with Lorelei has given Jane a new perspective.
First, Lorelei led him to face an evolution of his stance towards his quest. What had been building up in S4 after Carter’s death blooms here after losing Lorelei: after those two failures, Jane stated considering his commitment to revenge, especially with the words his mind put in Charlotte’s mouth. Even if it’s still thinly veiled, it’s becoming more and more apparent that he’s hoping for a start over. That may explain his lassitude after failing again in his scheme in this season finale… Still, more and more those failures are only temporary and give him new leads which get him even further involved.
Second point, as it’s been stated, Lorelei also forced him to face a new step in the grieving process. Adding to lassitude and hope for something more, he’s starting to learn to accept:
– that his family is no longer here. The belladonna helped him see his daughter, and his ambiguity shows in the fact that he didn’t want to let her go; still she wanted to make him accept their loss. It marks the beginning of healing: the most decisive sign is how easily he talks about his childhood in the finale, a thing he never did before…
– what he did with Lorelei. He’s admitted his liking her after Lisbon cornered him. He came to terms that he can feel again something more than just attraction for women (more than with Erica). He’s opened a door to something new, leading him to assume his deeper feelings for Lisbon too.
Acceptation is therefore a new aspect he gained in his relation with Lisbon: during the Volker case, he helped her without gaining anything for himself, nor for making up for one of his mistakes like he used to. And, contrary to the finales of S1 and of S3, he didn’t come to her rescue because her life was directly at risk. He just understood that the case was important for her and that she needed to get the man to achieve a kind of closure: he understood her need, like she’s probably started to get his own need for revenge. They also made progress in the communication area: they came from the worst kind of communication at the beginning of the season (not telling her about his night with Lorelei or about his six months scheme), to a better understanding on that aspect too. That was allowed by their fight in ‘There Will Be Blood’, which was violent and certainly painful, but put their cards on the table, both personally and professionally. It’s hinted in Jane’s ways of apologizing: in ‘The Crimson Ticket’, he only gave her a rather lame blanket apology, while in the finale, he apologies for being secretive and controlling and make amends by accepting to tell her the names on the list. Both aspects explain the fact that he implicitly acknowledges that their mutual feelings have deepened and that they may be about on exploring a whole new field (as might be hinted by the sex talk at the end of ‘Red Velvet Cupcakes’).
In retrospective, Lorelei seems to have been an inversed reflection of Jane: she was in the same situation than him, still her choices after losing her sister were radically different. After meeting Jane, she too got a possibility of closure (the truth) and the opportunity to start anew (by going after RJ and avenging her sister), yet once again her choices in her new life out of RJ’s influence were tainted by violence, leading to her death. She’s a counter-model for Jane.
2/ Concerning RJ
Jane made some pretty significant progress in his quest to find the serial killer too: he’s up to a new step with his infamous list narrowed down to seven suspects. Yet the new rules supposedly changed by him but chosen by RJ show that the consultant has for the first time managed to get to his nemesis personally by taking his lover from him in a way reminiscent of RJ taking Angela from Jane… Hence the new psychic angle, symbolizing that RJ is taking Jane’s role to mess with him before getting into his head and killing off his happy memories… In a way, his trying to mess with Jane’s mind reminds of what he did with Kristina and the plausible brainwashing he used with some of his followers in his cult-like organization (Lorelei maybe and even Rosalind in her last scene)…
Anyway, it truly seems that the countdown has started; there are only a handful of suspects instead of, well, any character of the show, including Jane himself, while the number of victims is bound to increase… Danger may be everywhere for Jane and his past and present beloved and, this time, RJ is out to get them…
As a conclusion, we can say that, if Jane is on a path to shed his past as a “worm” as RJ called him to become a hopeful butterfly, he may just be really starting getting out of his chrysalis…
Expectations for Season 6
Following the wish-list proposed by Auli and Rose UK and developed by many great commenters, it seems that there are many points that are hoped for in the upcoming season 6…
1) A major expectation for the new episodes concerns RJ and the game he will be playing with Jane, as well as his secret identity. It would be great if we were given a bit more insight in how Jane’s mind worked to come up with his list, given that many names don’t match the clues we were given earlier in the show. Will they simply ignore those discrepancies (leading to a series of huge and disappointing pet peeves), or will they explain Jane’s conclusions by some clever deductions? Many regular viewers have rightfully expressed their worries and disappointment towards this list of names, since some of them were discarded due to the incoherence with said clues, while some others were seemingly brought out from nowhere (Smith, McAllister,…). I can only hope they will handle this point as cleverly as they did with many others…
2) Obviously, viewers are hoping for progress on the Jane/Lisbon front too: they’ve both shown sign of caring deeply for the other and their closeness is admittedly turning towards romance. Still, many expect a new and much needed balance to be found in their relationship… the question is: are the writers going to bring back Lisbon’s badass skills into the complicated game she’s playing with her elusive partner, leading her to take matters in her own hands both concerning his lack of transparency and his feelings, like she did in ‘There Will Be Blood’? Or will they going the more usual route of making Jane try to adapt to her, by getting more trustworthy and respectful of what she may think? Of course, there’s always the possibility that Jane might man up and assume his feelings if he’s confronted to a treat (Lisbon in danger/ losing her to another man/…) and maybe, maybe, have a adult, constructive –and calm- talk with her like Rigsby and Van Pelt did… even though “adult” isn’t a word that may be easily applied to the wayward childish consultant…
3) Concerning the other characters, it would be nice to have more information on creepy Kirkland, not only because he’s one of the suspects but also because he’s very mysterious: a revealing episode like we got with Laroche would be very welcome. Also, they could bring back from the shadows some pretty intriguing characters; what really happened to Darcy after her break-down, to Hightower, Kristina and Rosalind? Could we get some allusion to Minelli or maybe get an arrest for the manipulative Erica? I guess this season full of “back to the roots” moments has really spoiled us… 😛
4) As a personal wish, given the threat of RJ to destroy his happy memories, I hope we get to know more of Jane’s past, may it be in or outside the carnie circuit or related to his family life: friends from his teenage years, Ruskin family members, ex-girlfriends, past adversaries or rivals, the possibilities are endless … We actually know so little about him, that almost anything might give new insight into his character.
Feel free to add your own expectations for season 6! 😉